I don’t like not being able to breathe. There’s a panicky desperation that comes with every breath. The lizard-mind that lurks at the base of my skull is making the system work. I can feel it. Sweet, cool, life-giving air sweeps in through my lips and past my teeth, but for some reason, it’s given nowhere to go. There’s a brief draught, followed by the blow of the waste gasses from my system (How can there be so much more?), and then it begins again. The system is working! I can feel the steady rhythm of the muscles in my chest. Why won’t you draw oxygen in?
So this morning was one of those rare occasions that I fumbled with the front pocket of my messenger bag until I found the Ventolin inhaler I keep there for emergencies. Stop. Stand straight. Take a few deep breaths as best I can and then blow everything out. Draw again, this time with a squeeze on the inhaler. I suck in the bitter, metallic medicine. Breathe out, trying to avoid twisting my face in disgust at the taste of the spent dose.
Rinse. Repeat. The second hit tastes worse, probably because I’m able to breathe more of it in.
Better now. We’ll see how long it lasts.